In the far northeastern corner of Hanover, the forested 125-acre McKinley Tract offers prime wildlife habitat for bear, moose, deer, snowshoe hare, and other wildlife, and has extensive frontage on Goose Pond and Wolfeboro Roads. The mixed hemlock/spruce/fir/northern hardwoods forest shelters both upland and wooded wetland habitat, including a number of vernal pools. As the Hanover Conservation Council, we bought the McKinley Tract in 1993, turning it over to the Town with a formal conservation easement that spells out protections for the land.
There are no trails on the McKinley Tract, but public access is allowed in all seasons. Enjoy the off-trail adventure!
How to get there
Travel north from Hanover on Route 10. Turn SE on the Goose Pond Road, and proceed approximately 5.5 miles to the Wolfeboro Road and the northern end of Goose Pond. A pullout on the west side of the Goose Pond Road just above the bridge crossing Marshall Brook and north of the Wolfeboro Road intersection is a convenient parking place for exploring the McKinley Tract and the Marshall Brook wetlands.
Open for Recreation
The public is welcome to explore the McKinley Tract for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, horse trail riding, fishing, and hunting. Currently, there are no formal trails on the property and the streams may be too tiny to fish, so adjust your expectations before visiting. You’ll be treated to a lovely bushwhack through a beautiful and dynamic forest.
The Town may temporarily limit public access to certain areas (say, when forestry operations are underway) and may impose limits on the use of some or all of the property for horseback riding, bicycle riding, and overnight camping, including limits to certain times of year.
Use of the McKinley Tract is now limited to forestry, education, outdoor recreation, and conservation. A forest management plan has been created to enhance the health of the forest while improving wildlife habitat on the property. The plan focuses on minimal impact on the environment and use of best management practices for forestry. A careful selective cut in the 1990s is now bringing a more natural, uneven-aged structure to the forest.
The Hanover Conservancy began work to protect this land in 1987, interested in its habitat and hydrologic connections to the Marshall Brook Wetlands on the opposite side of Goose Pond Road. We had purchased those 96 acres of rich wetland and upland habitat in 1977 and turned the property over to the town.
A 12-lot subdivision proposed for the neighboring McKinley Tract was turned down by the Planning Board, and negotiations commenced for a conservation purchase. As the Hanover Conservation Council, we bought the McKinley Tract in 1993, again turning it over to the Town, this time with a formal conservation easement that spells out protections for the land.